Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó presented the Silver Cross of the Hungarian order of Merit to his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov on Thursday.

The award, which was bestowed by President of the Republic János Áder, was presented by Mr. Szijjártó in New York, where both foreign ministers are attending a high-level meeting of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. Amongst others, Mr. Mammadyarov received the award in recognition of his strategic role in developing and expanding the strategic partnership between the two countries. The Hungarian Foreign Minister praised his Azerbaijani counterpart’s activities with relation to tightening bilateral relations and emphasised that Azerbaijan plays an important role in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership programme, as well as in Hungary’s so-called Eastern Opening policy.

This is justified on the one hand by economic factors, including the investment attraction capabilities of the rapidly developing Azeri economy, but the country’s role in European energy security is also extremely significant in view of the fact that it contributes to the diversification of the European Union’s natural gas supply and provides additional sources of gas. In his thank you speech, Mr. Mammadyarov praised the close cooperation between the two governments, including at the highest possible level. He too stressed the importance of the Eastern Partnership policy to both parties.